ICE! Returns for a Festive Seasonal Experience

Cool times await at Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center Hotel’s annual holiday classic

Article by Dana Slone

Photography by Photos provided by Gaylord Rockies

Originally published in Arvada Lifestyle

Winter traditions are born from shared experiences among family and friends. Create fun and festive one-of-a-kind memories with ICE!, the annual holiday celebration at Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center in Aurora, hosted Nov. 17, 2023 through Jan. 1, 2024. The spectacular showcase offers an indoor frozen wonderland based on a classic holiday film, hands-on activities, experiential opportunities, performances and a visit from Santa Claus, among the many highlights in store for guests.

Using more than two million pounds of ice, the Warner Bros. holiday classic, A Christmas Story™ is created by a team of 40 world-class ice artisans from Harbin, China. Known as “Ice City,” Harbin is home to the world’s largest annual ice and snow sculpting festival.

The ice artisans, who travel more than 5,700 miles from their homes in Harbin to Aurora, Colorado, start with more than 6,000 massive ice blocks. The carvers work approximately six weeks for more than 12,000 man-hours on the nearly 17,000-square-foot frozen attraction. 

The larger-than-life whimsical scenes are carved using chisels, chippers, tongs, handsaws, grinders and chainsaws. 

What can you expect? Visitors will experience more than 10 scenes from the now-classic holiday film, walking among hand-carved sculptures made of colored ice, clear ice and LED lights.

The artisans, using skills passed down through generations, follow a 300-page design book to create the ice spectacle, with carvings ranging in size from details as tiny as a coin to soaring scenes more than 30 feet tall. The environment is kept frozen by a state-of-the-art chilling system that maintains the attraction’s temperature at nine degrees Fahrenheit. Signature blue parkas are offered to ICE! visitors to stay warm.

Guests can also take rides down the two-story-tall ice slides and traverse through ice tunnels and arches. The ICE! experience concludes in a separate area dedicated to the Nativity scene, meticulously carved for a dramatic display of crystal-clear ice.

“ICE! has been a tradition at Gaylord Hotels for two decades now,” says Suzy Hart, General Manager, Gaylord Rockies. “This is the first time Rockies has put on A Christmas Story and watching people come together to enjoy it never gets old.”

While ICE! is the signature attraction for the holiday season at the sprawling Gaylord Rockies, “Cirque: Spirit of Christmas” returns for another year with dazzling costumes, breathtaking aerial performances and feats that defy gravity. 

The original Gaylord Hotels production will feature high-flying stunts, acrobatic feats, elaborate staging and a dramatic musical score directed by renowned Broadway Director Neil Goldberg, performed by an international cast of 25 artists.

Other guest attractions include a test of winter wits inside the Naughty or Nice Escape Room; training and toymaker trade secrets at The Elf Workshop; crafting edible art Gingerbread Decorating Corner; making furry friends at Build-A-Bear Workshop®, Reindeer Games™ Scavenger; shopping the Yuletide Street Market in Mistletoe Village; and so much more. Holiday family fun awaits. 

For more information, tickets to ICE! attractions or to book an overnight stay, visit 

Photos provided by Gaylord Rockies. A CHRISTMAS STORY and all related characters and elements & Turner Entertainment Co. (s23) © Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. Used with permission. All rights reserved. © 2023 BUBLY and the Bubly Designs are trademarks of Portfolio Concentrate Solutions UC. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and all related elements © &™ under license to Character Arts, LLC. All rights reserved.

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